Black Republican Will Challenge Cynthia McKinney

By Nathan Burchfiel | July 7, 2008 | 8:31pm EDT

(CNSNews.com) - A little known African American woman announced Thursday that she will try to unseat Georgia Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who has been mired in controversy since she struck a U.S. Capitol policeman in the chest with her closed fist.

Catherine Davis, a human resources manager who has never held elected office, said she is running because McKinney's "dismal legislative record and her outrageous behavior are an embarrassment to the hard-working folks in my district." McKinney represents Georgia's 4th Congressional District.

Davis is conservative. She favors a strict approach to immigration reform - the immediate securing of the borders and deportation of illegal residents, privatizing Social Security, Health Savings Accounts, school vouchers and the Fair Tax, which would eliminate the federal income tax and establish a federal sales tax.

McKinney was first elected to the U.S. House in 1992 to represent Georgia's heavily Democratic 11th District. The district was redrawn by order of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1995 and McKinney was elected in the new, but still heavily Democratic 4th District in 1996. She lost her seat in 2002 when she was beaten in a Democratic primary, but when the winner then attempted a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2004, McKinney recaptured her old seat.

Davis said she believes the district is ready for change after the controversy that has swirled around McKinney.

In March, McKinney was criticized for hitting a Capitol police officer when he tried to stop her at a security checkpoint in the Cannon House Office Building. McKinney was not wearing her congressional pin at the time and was sporting a new hairstyle that the officer did not recognize.

McKinney apologized for the incident taking place, but did not specifically apologize to the officer she struck. McKinney had earlier accused the officer of "racial profiling" and "inappropriate touching."

In the aftermath of the incident, McKinney again came under fire for telling a reporter not to air comments she had made off camera that were derogatory toward a staff member. McKinney forgot to remove her microphone before saying that staff member Coz Carson "is a fool."

"While in the past simply being a Democrat was enough to get you elected," Davis told Cybercast News Service , "I believe the voters of the 4th are shifting and they're looking for leadership. I also believe that they are tired of the talking loud and saying nothing -- antics that the current congresswoman has engaged in."

Davis is critical of the way McKinney handled the incident with the Capitol police officer. She said she understands McKinney's initial reaction to the police offer grabbing her, but said the congresswoman should have immediately apologized.

Davis told Cybercast News Service that voters in the 4th District are upset that McKinney "took the last bastion of systemic discrimination in this nation -- racial profiling -- and cheapened it to a level to say that that's what happened to her because she couldn't control her impulse to strike out."

There are "one or two" people who support McKinney's actions, Davis said, but the majority of people she has met with in the district are "looking for a leader who will bring answers to the many problems that are plaguing them in the district."

Davis, a human resources manager for Sprint, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University in three years with a double major in psychology and education. Her previous political experience is limited to working for former Virginia Gov. George Allen, now a U.S. senator, as a welfare reform outreach coordinator. But she does not think her lack of experience will hurt her.

"I believe people want a fresh face and I have corporate experience that can translate into any venue in which I choose to take it," Davis said. "While I don't have the legislative experience yet, I believe that my lobbying experience as well as my corporate experience, [have] fully prepared me to be today's leader to begin addressing the issues of the 4th District."

It's possible that Davis won't get a chance to face McKinney at all, because McKinney must defeat two Democratic opponents, John Coyne II and Hank Johnson, in the district's July 18 primary to get the party's nomination.

A spokesman for McKinney did not return calls requesting comment Thursday.

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